While reading a book, I came across the following sentence: 人間では決して勝ちえることのできぬ存在
Even with the translation (fan-translated) "It was an opponent which humanity could not overcome", I am unable to understand it.
Let's focus on a slightly simpler version: 人間では勝ちえることのできない存在. I have highlighted the two parts that are confusing me:
- 人間では ... I cannot find on Particles: に vs. で a case which makes sense for this use of で, and am unsure what influence it has on the translation compared to its omission 人間は勝ちえること...
- ...ちえることのできない存在: I do not understand this use of の. It seems to neither indicate possession/adjectival, nor an のだ/んだ explanation.
Finally, I am unsure I understand how to properly assess the "direction" of the 勝ちえることできない, i.e. whether to translate "an opponent which humanity could not overcome" or "an opponent who could not overcome humanity". Indeed, it is my understanding that using 人間は rather than 人間が makes 人間 the subject of the sentence in the first case, and the subject of the verb in the second case (ex: 象さんは鼻が長い > "About elephants, their trunk is long"). Since there is no explicit object を in the sentence, I would be tempted to translate coarsely "About/Towards humanity, a being where winning is impossible", which is ambiguous as to the "direction" of 勝ちえることできない.
Thank you for helping.
humanity could not overcome<- To mean this, 勝ちえることのできぬ would be redundant. (～える and ～ことのでき(る) both mean "can"). It should be either 勝ちえない存在 or 勝つことのできない存在(=勝つことができない存在), no? (or less formally 勝てない存在)